Success stories

Investing with Your Values

The Challenge

Judy and Michael care a great deal about the environment. They understand that when they invest, they may be funding activities that don’t line up 100% with their values as they relate to building a sustainable environment. They understand that values are subjective and that the issues are nuanced, but they nevertheless want to be able to consider the impact of their investing while generating a return.

The Goal

Their primary goal was to direct their equity holdings toward forward-thinking management teams who serve a broader purpose than simply driving the near-term bottom line. These teams should think about ways to mitigate their environmental impact and strive to make improvements. Summitry reviewed Judy and Michael’s exposures with them in this context and focused on a company in their portfolio that manufactured petrochemicals for use in a wide range of consumer and industrial applications. When Hurricane Harvey ravaged the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2017, plants under this company’s control released contaminants into the air as it shut down operations to protect these plants from floodwaters. Judy and Michael were at a crossroads and needed help making a decision to divest this stock or to hold firm.

The Solution

Summitry proposed that Judy and Michael follow a somewhat unconventional approach to this problem. Working with Summitry and a team of legal advocates, Judy and Michael submitted a shareholder resolution for consideration at the upcoming meeting of stockholders asking management to issue a report that addresses the company’s preparedness for a world where climate change could make hurricanes like Harvey a regular event. How would the company change its practices to address this challenge and make its community safer? Their resolution narrowly lost the shareholder vote, but management noticed. Several months later, the company published a detailed report outlining new investments, as well as operating and risk management policies to guard against climate change. Judy and Michael learned about the power of share ownership and their ability to personally effect positive change.

Next up:

Financial Modeling & Legacy Planning

*Actual client situation with the names changed for privacy. Please see disclaimer below.

This case study contains an actual client situation with the names changed in which Summitry has provided financial planning advice. There is no guarantee that similar results will be achieved for other financial planning clients. It is unknown if the clients on which this case study is based approved or disapproved of Summitry's services. Summitry's advice is based each client's specific situation and contains multiple factors. Summitry may make recommendations to one client that may differ from the advice given to another client.

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Kurt Hoefer, CFA

Chief Strategy Officer